Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Finds (a little late)

Friday Finds
Hosted by Should be Reading

Share the books you've heard about this week! I've heard about a couple this week that don't come out for months, but which already have my interest and a few that I just may have to get from the bookstore (since my library doesn't have them). I found this meme at Imagination in Focus, another great blog I follow :)

Matched by Ally Condie

This book doesn't come out until November- but it caught my eye when I saw Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) post about it. Both say they love the book- which is a good enough recommendation for me. Add in the synopsis and I'm all in for this book. Can't wait.

In the novel, a 17-year-old girl, who has waited her entire life to be told by a group known as “the Society” who her soul mate is, has her world upended when she discovers she’s in love with someone other than the group’s pick.

The Grimm Legacy

By: Polly Shulman

This is another one that isn't out for awhile, July to be exact. It comes on the recommendation of a friend and seems really interesting. So it is one I will probably be picking up when it comes out in a few months.

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library— a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles.
When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime—or captured by the thief.

Are we too nice?

A post by Mel over at Mel's Books and Info brought an interesting question to the forefront. In response to a article in the Huffington Post (the link to which I can't find, and is probably irrelevant) Mel talked about those of us bloggers who read and review primarily Young Adult books and our tendencies. The original HP article contended that we are "too nice in our reviews, not giving a fair critique of the material, and giving women authors preferential treatment". That's a pretty big statement to make, especially considering the shear number of bloggers out there. Mel talked about her thoughts on the subject, and now I want to talk about mine. Obviously I can't answer the accussations for every blogger out there, so I'll just tell you how I feel on it :) Enjoy!

Are we too nice? I don't think so. In fact most of us can be pretty darn snarky when discussing books, but in my opinion, that attitude is best left out of a review. Every book has value, what I find wonderful might be increadibly boring to someone else, and what I hate, might just be someone else's cup of tea. Books that I really dislike, and there are lots of them, I don't finish. I take about 1/3 of the books that I check out back to the library having never made it to the end. I don't get paid to do this job (although that would be awesome) and there are too many books out there to spend time reading something that just doesn't do it for me. My "to read" pile is usually about 6-10 books high, so if I don't get into a book I just move on to something else. I don't write reviews of these unfinished books, because, to be honest, that would make for a pretty short review. There are a few books on my blog that I haven't liked, but finished anyways, in hopes they would get better. In those reviews I clearly say what I didn't like and why, but I also try to point out some of the great parts too. In the same vein, if I love a book, but there is something that rubbed me the wrong way about the book, I try to point that out as well.

Do we give a fair critique? I try to, and I'd hope most bloggers try to. Everyone has an opinion, so there will be those moments where we are biased. A book about my favorite subject, while maybe not the best written book, might get a better review simply because I love the subject matter. The same goes if a book is about something I don't have a huge interest in, but is impecably written. One example here is my feelings on Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, by most accounts a fantastic book. For me, I got so hung up by the location portrayed in the book, my hometown, and the fact that I couldn't recognize any of the locations she referenced, that the rest of the book suffered. The book took a place I call home and made it unrecognizable. So sometimes, regardless of how wonderful the writing is, the book just doesn't work for certain readers. In my opinion, reading is such a personal thing, despite the fact that we share our experience with the masses through our blogs. The best we can do is enjoy the books and the journey and give a fair and honest opinion on it.

Do we give preferential treatment to women? I thought this was probably the most interesting part of the question, because to answer it you really have to take a broad look at what you read and why. Technically, you can only review the books that you read, so you really have to look at what books you tend to pick up. I'll admit to the fact tht I rarely look at the authors name until after the fact. Right now it feels like I've been reading alot of women writers, because that's whose putting out the books I'm interested in. However, if I look across the board, and to do so I would be leaving the tiny corner of the book world that is Young Adult books, I find that some of my favorite authors are not women. In the YA world, two of my recent favorites are Sherman Alexie, whose The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, was phenomenal and Ben Mickalsen, whose Spirit Bear books I absolutely loved. On the oppsite end, refer back to my opinion on Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I did a quick look through some book festivals that focus on YA books and found that in most cases there were far more female writers on the panels then male which leads me to believe that in general, there are just more women writing in this field then men. Simply put, that means that we are more likely to grab a book to review by a woman- that's just the odds. That being said, I'd never put a book down just because it was by a guy, so for me it's more about what the book is about, whether it grabs my attention and holds it, then who it is written by.

What does everyone else think about all this? Sound off in the comments- or if you can't keep concise (as clearly I could not) go ahead and blog about it too!

Book Blogger Hop

Crazy for Books host a great little event called the Book Blogger Hop! It seems like a great way to find other book blogs and see what people are reading- I love checking out other blogs and this has been an awesome way to find some I may never have stumbled on by myself. Luckily a blog I already follow, Mindful Musings, had a post about the hop and here I am. So head on over and find some great other Book Blogs!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


By: Maggie Stiefvater

The sequel to Shiver follows the story of Grace and the wolves of Mercy Falls.

Maggie says: "It's about after. What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you've fallen in love for the first time, after you've lost what you think you can't live without, after you've become someone you can't live with."


This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin. (from
I got this book as an Adavanced Read Copy- so fair notice- this book doesn't officially come out until July and although I'll try to avoid spoilers, if you don't want to know what happens until you can actually pick the book up in your hands, then I'd stop reading right now.

I loved Stiefvater's first book, Shiver, and was definitly waiting not so patiently to read Linger, so of course when I had the chance to read a fellow Book of the Month'er's ARC, I jumped at the chance. I read it about a week ago, spead through the book in one night (so I could forward it on) and then sat on this review since then. There was so much to digest that I couldn't justify just jumping on and posting a review without really taking the time to think about the book. Of course, as expected, Linger was fantastic.

As in Shiver, the chapters alternate between characters, this time following Grace, Sam, Isabel and one of the new wolves, Cole. Sam is still reveling in his new life, spending each day, even the frigidly cold ones, with Grace. Cole, who wanted to become a wolf as an escape, finds that he is unable to stay one, despite the cold. Isabel is looking for some sort of human contact, and finds it in an unlikely place, and soon finds herself inexplicably linked to Cole. And Grace, finds herself being torn apart at the seams, falling ill from a sickness that no one can diagnose, but which they all know is somehow linked to that day she was bitten by the wolves, and the mysterious way the wolves of Mercy Falls meet their own fate. On top of that, add in the fact that Grace's parents have finally decided to, you know, be parents and you have an increadible moving book about trying to hold it all together when the world seems to be falling apart.

Some things I loved were that despite the kind of heavy material that filled this book (you will want a tissue box handy) there were some great light moments, especially in the form of Grace's best friend Rachel. Rachel, to me, is hysterical- I love how she refers to Sam as The Boy and that she is always there for Grace, regardless of how crazy the issue. I also kind of loved to hate Cole in the beginning, and then in the end, just loved to love him. He was great character, who even though he isn't the main focus, managed to make quite a leap from being the tortured, druggie rock star who just wants to get away, to the guy who is willing to put in a huge effort to try an save Grace.

As far as Grace and Sam are concerned, Linger really sees them coming into their own. Sam, although somewhat reluctantly, steps into his role as Beck's replacement as the wolves begin to emerged from the woods as humans again. For her part, Grace takes a stand against her parents, who, now that they see Sam as a more permanent fixture in Grace's life, decide to actually attempt something like parenting. In Grace's opinion (and I agree), it's too little, too late- you can't only decide to be a parent when it suits you, imposing new rules and then leaving, so I was ecstatic to see Grace stand up for herself and her relationship with Sam.

In the end, great second book in this series- I think that it will serves as a great bridge between Shiver, where everything was all new, and the third book, Forever, where we will hopefully see Sam and Grace find a way to their happily ever after. Of course the biggest issue with reading Linger as an ARC is that I now have to wait longer for the next book, Forever, but that is totally okay!


For anyone following the BOTM stuff, Linger is on for July, and in the mean time, go check out Stiefvater's website which is chock full of awesomness :)

Meeting Maria V. Snyder

So this is a bit of a departure from my normal review post, but it's simply too cool not to share. Essentially I am indulging my fangirl side :) So the stars aligned this week as one of my favorite authors, Maria V. Snyder, (Study series, Inside Out) ventured into my neck of the woods for a book signing at SUNY Morrisville on my half day- so I actually got to go! Not even the random late April snow storm could keep me away :)

It was a pretty laid back affair- a little college campus store, some punch and (thank goodness) some stuffed animals to keep my 9 month occupied. Maria was so down to earth- she had all of her books out and it was great to listen to her describe the different series' and what they are all about. It's one thing to read a book and get your own ideas, but to get it straight from the author is pretty cool. I especially enjoyed hearing about how alot of Inside Out came from a dream.

I dind't stay for too long (for reasons of the previously mentioned 9 month old)- but it was great to actually meet one of the authors I've worked with online. The internet has made everyone so much more accessible, but there is still nothing like meeting someone face to face.

Here's a pic of Maria and I (ignore me in this picture)

And a quick reminder that we are chatting with Maria on Tuesday May 4th at 8:30 over at Eve's Fan Garden!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chat with Simone Elkeles

Join us tonight at 9pm est at Eve's Fan Garden as we chat with Simone Elkeles, author of Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction and the How to Ruin series.

Monday, April 26, 2010


By: Lesley Livingston

In this sequel to Wondrous Strange, Kelley Winslow finds her NYC acting career blossoming as she takes the lead in Romeo and Juliet. But she also finds herself desperately missing Sonny Flannery—who was forced back to the Faerie Otherworld, charged with a dangerous mission by Kelley’s father, King Auberon.

When Kelley finds herself thrown into the Otherworld following a deadly chase in Central Park, her passionate reunion with Sonny is cut short. Ancient magick is stirring, and a dangerous enemy has Sonny and Kelley caught in a web of Faerie deception that could tear their love apart.


I really enjoyed this book. It picked up a few months after Wonderous Strange left off, and Livingston was able to effortlessly jump back into the story filling in the minor gaps quickly before moving forward. In this book Kelly is cast in the role of Juliet to Gentleman Jack's Romeo. Without Sonny gone back into the Otherworld to chase down the remenants of the Wild Hunt, Kelly is left in New York to face all the reminders of the past years events, including frightning dreams where she's see's Sonny huntung the riders and is visited by her mother Mahb (via magic mirror)

Like in Wonderous Strange, not everything is what it seems and soon Kelly is confronted by new creatures and enemies- including the Leprachauns, a viscious race of men decended from the Greenman. Two particularly terrible leprachauns are after Kelly and her necklace (cheekily refered to as her lucky charm). The struggle finds Kelly facing dangers in New York, in the Faerie Otherworld and lastly in her beloved theatre, the Avalon. The story ends with Kelly finding out exactly who and what Sonny is, and that he may belong in the faerie more then anyone realizes.

One thing I relly love about this series is the incorporation of the theatre (the Avalon) and Shakespeare's plays. In Wonderous Strange it was Midsummer Night's Dream, in Darklight it is Romeo & Juliet. Livingston weaves the play into the plotline without making it seem like a joke, and for those of us who love the theatre, it's great to see the way you can tie the classic story in with something more modern.

Darklight is the second book in the series, and although the third book has no release date set yet (or a title for that matter), I'm already anticipating where Sonny and Kelly may find themselves next. I also can't wait to see what play Kelly might star in next- maybe Hamlet, The Tempest, the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry
By: Simone Elkeles

At Fairfield High, everyone knows that south siders and north siders aren’t exactly compatible elements. So when cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners, the results are bound to be explosive.

Neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all – love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart? (from


I thought this was a great book. Already a fan of Elkleses other books (the How to Ruin series), I didn't really expect less. I will say this though. I was recommended this series by a very reliable book pusher (MA, I'm looking at you) and like the Ruin series I was initially a little hesitant. In my head I immediately thought that the whole modern day Romeo & Juliet, revamped West Side Story plot line was a bit played out. It's been done, you know what I mean? However, like Elkeles other books, it really doesn't matter. Elkeles has a way of taking whatever topic she's going for and making it brand new. It's really a testament to her amazing writing that a very classic story can feel so fresh and new.

I loved the main characters in this book, Alex and Brittney are perfectly written. It really highlighted how you shouldn't take anyone at face value, beacuse there is usually more just below the surface. If you open your eyes and heart you might just find a whole world that you never knew was there, and it might be just what you were looking for.

One thing I love about Elkeles is that she is exceptionally accurate in her characters and environment. Alex, his family and his friends all use a mix of spanish and english in conversation and although my spanish is limited to 4 years of HS language which ended 10 years ago, I've heard from reader's who are much more qualified to comment that the writing was dead on compared to what you might hear in that community. In addition, the portrayal of Brittney's disabled sister was done in a compassionate way that didn't demean her in any way, but showed what life caring for someone with a severe disability is like.
I thought this was a fabulous book and I look forward to reading Rules of Attraction, the next book in the series, which followes Alex's younger brother as he finds his way.


Join us on April 27th at 9:00 pm EST over at Eve's Fan Garden for our Author Chat and Contest!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chat tonight with Maria V. Snyder

Please join us tonight over at Eve's Fan Garden as we chat with Maria V. Snyder, author of the excellent new book Inside Out! Chat starts at 8:30pm est and in addition to getting to talk to Maria there will chances to win some great prizes. Click here for more giveaway details.

Hope to see everyone there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wonderous Strange

Wonderous Strange
By: Lesley Livingston

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she's an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley's about to step into the role of Titania the Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man will plunge her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

*There are a few spoilers in here, so there is your fair warning :) *

I just finished this book- it's 3:40 am, so that should at least speak to the fact that this book is slightly addicting. It took me a bit to really get into, but once I did, I didn't want to put it down. I thought that this was a great book, mostly because it packed in a little bit of everything without become overwhelming or cluttered. There was humor and action, magic and war, and of course a little romance, all working together.

Of course, I liked our leading lady- if she wasn't beleivable the whole story would falter. As usual with most YA books, Kelley is a reluctant hero, she's different, but doesn't know how or why. Over the course of the story she comes to realize who and what she is, and in the end accepts her birthright and becomes one heck of a faerie warrior.

One thing I really liked was the play within the story. Kelley was stepping into the role of Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream just as she was learning of her role as faerie princess (daughter of the real Auberon). Even though it could have come off as cheesy, I really enjoyed it because the play loosely mirrored the faerie world Kelley was discovering without becoming cliche, or overdone. I loved how the real Puck was playing Puck and how he was able to kind of explain the similarities to Kelley.

I loved Sonny as well- I thought he was well written in that he was able to relate to Kelley, want to protect Kelley, but still be this kind of uncomfortable teenage guy who totally doesn't know how to deal with Kelley at first on a very basic social level. Some of their early interactions were almost cringe-worthy as he tried to figure out who Kelley really was and how to help her. As a Janus guard he works for Auberon, but he also is drawn to keep Kelley safe, which in the end pulls him in two different directions.

I thought this book wrapped up nicely- with good resolutions for pretty much everyone, but with enough left unanswered to make you want to read the sequel Darklight. It will be interesting to see where the story goes next now that Kelley has accepter her identity as the daughter of two very powerful faeries (Mahb being her mother), and the power and danger that comes with status.

Livingston has a great website that has some book trailers and links to her blog and more. Also- this book is one of EFG's and TwilightMom's June Books, so if you like this book (and Darklight, also a June book) check back in June when we will hopefully be having a contest and chat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This is my first week joining in over at Crazy for Books for their weekly Book Blogger Hop! It seems like a great way to find other book blogs and see what people are reading- I love checking out other blogs and this has been an awesome way to find some I may never have stumbled on by myself. Luckily a blog I already follow, Mindful Musings, had a post about the hop and here I am. So head on over adn find some great other Book Blogs!

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
by: Sara Gruen

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.

It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. (from


This was a great book. Told by the main character Jacob Jankowski, the story leaps back and forth between the year his parents died and he joined the circus and his current position in a nursing home. As Jacob watches the circus come to town through the nursing home window he relives the adventures he had as a vetrenarian with the Benzini Brothers Circus.

I particularly liked the way you really see how life can change, both in an instant and in the long march of time as you get older. In his memory, we see Jacob as a kid who is kind of lost with now where to go, he's lost everything- his parents, his home and even his degree and career. In one life changing decision he hops a train and finds himself in a whole new world, one that welcomes him without alot of questions (especially once they know he is a trained vet). However, the life in the circus is not without it's own dangers as Jacob quickly finds out. During the time with the circus Jacob see's animals and people abused and makes some (deadly) enemies, but he also makes friends and meets Marlena, who would become his wife. Although this story is primarily about these two moments in time, the year he joins the circus and the day the circus visits his nursing home, we do get glimpses into what his life with Marlena was after he left the circus.

In the present, Jacob is an old man (90 or 93, he's not sure) and living in a nursing home, watching the world he once inhabited come to life just outside his window and outside his reach. When his family forgets to come visit him, therby robbing him of a chance to see the circus, Jacob takes matters into his own hands and makes the long, hard walk to the tents himself. Once there, he finds a kindred spirit in a an who revels in hearing all about Jacob's time in the circus and in this new found friendship, he also finds a way to rejoin the life he once had and the chance to go "home" with the circus.

This is a bittersweet story. It holds nothing back and you really see the darker side of the greatest show on earth, as well as the magic it can hold. I really enjoyed the story and I'm looking forward to reading more of Gruen's books.

Jillian Dare

Jillian Dare
By: Melanie Jeschke

Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England. She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.

This modern retelling of Jane Eyre is a fun book. Jeschke take alot of what is great about Jane Eyre and pulling it into the present, which makes for a quick and easy read. For those of you who have read Eyre, the basic plot remains the same (although slightly condensed). A young girl, Jillian, raised by an adoptive family takes a job as a Nanny for a weathly and charming man, Ethan Remington. Against considerable odds they fall in love and plan to wed, but as is sometimes the case, there is unresolved business in the form of an ex. Of course, tragedy brings Jillian and Ethan back together in the end, where they find happiness despite it all. That is the really condensed version, but of course there is much more.

I really liked Jillian. I thought she was a plucky character, overcoming alot of hardships to be a really self-sufficient, strong girl. I liked seeing her go from slightly insecure at the outset of her job as a nanny to Cadence Remington, to a woman who could not only take care of herself, but also those who she loved.

I thought Ethan Remington was a decent character as well, although I admit to wanting to know more about him. We see him from Jillian's perspective and she makes the leap from crush to love pretty quickly, and I wish we had gotten a little more insight into what was so caprivating about him. That being said, what we got, I liked. He was equal parts mysterious and charming, and I particularly liked the sections that had him with his daughter.

Jillian's adoptive family, the Brooke's, play a part as well, especially when Jillian moves back in with some of the kids her age. John Brooke's is in the role of Jillian's would be suitor, seeing her as a perfect companion to join him on his missionary work, and as a wife. Her relationship with him serves to show her that you have to follow your heart, even if it sometimes finds itself at odds with you mind.

This book has got a little bit of something for everyone, mystery, romance and action. Personally, I enjoyed this book alot. If you are a fan of Eyre, or if you want a break from the more supernatural young adult fare that's popular right now, this is a great option.


Jillian Dare is one of EFG's and TwilightMom's May books, so check back really soon for contest information and to see when we've set up a chat with the author for.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Before I Fall

Before I Fall
By: Lauren Oliver

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (from


Okay- so I love this book. LOVE. The beauty of this book is that in the beginning you hate Sam. You remember girls who were like her in high school, heck, maybe you even were her in high school. You see the mean girl tactics her and her friends Lindsay, Elody and Ally employ as they reign supreme over Thomas Jefferson High. You wince as they pick on those around them and act as if the rules (and the law) doesn't apply to them, and maybe you even think to yourself as you relize they are about die "well, they weren't nice people, maybe they deserved it".

Then, Sam's day begins all over again. Seven times it begins again and slowly you see her become something more. You see her realize who and what she has become and you watch as she tries to change it, tries to save her own life, to save more then just her own life. Seven days until she is at peace with her place in the world and how her life will go. It's really a fascinating journey. It leaves you thinking about what you would do, what you might change, who you might have spoken to more, or been nicer to, or even who you realize now was not worth your time (like Sam's boyfriend).

There are a few things I want to point out that I really appreciated. The biggest one being what Sam decides about her friends. They are mean (especially Lindsay) and it would be easy to throw them away in the quest to become a better person, but Sam doesn't. Sure one day she lashes out, but she realizes that no matter how they act sometimes, they are still her friends, and that sometimes that cruelty and anger is a mask for fear and insecurity. They were part of the same accident that takes Sam's life, and in the end Sam realizes that she can not only try to save herself, but save them all.

I also loved the charecter of Kent, Sam's childhood friend who has been pining away for her for years, waiting for that moment when she will see him for who he is, when he can mean something to her again . It doesn't happen right away, but by the end of the 7th day Sam has her eyes wide open and has realized what it is she has to lose and what she can do to save it all.

If I had to say something bad about this book, it would be that it is nearly impossible to read without at least a cursory thought about the movie Groundhogs Day. In fact a was a little worried when I realized that was where the story was going, but my fears were quickly lost as I got more and more engrossed in the story and Sam's fate.

Bottom line- excellent book. One of the best I've read in awhile. Go buy it, borrow it from a friend of get it from the library- just go read it.


I'm going to go ahead and plug the author chat and contest that is coming up on this book next week. We are chatting with Lauren Oliver over at Eve's Fan Garden on April 13th at 9:00 pm and that chat you have a chance to win an autographed copy of Before I Fall.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Soul to Save

My Soul to Save
By: Rachel Vincent

“If she were going to die, I’d already be screaming. I’m a banshee. That’s what we do.”

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk... (from

This is a book I liked, but didn't love. It had alot of great moments and idea's but I had a hard time getting into it. In fact, when I try to think about what exactly I didn't like, nothing pops into my head. I guess there is something to be said for the fact that everyone likes different things! I think that sometimes the order I read books affects my feelings, since I was coming off a book I really loved and whose story I wans't quite ready to leave. At any rate My Soul to Save is about a girl named Kaylee who is trying to find her way as a Banshee with the help of her boyfriend Nash. Add pop-stars who are selling their souls and Nash's reaper brother Tod and you have all the ingredients for a dangerous adventure.

One of the things I really liked in this book was the company that represented evil- Dekkar Media, tricking bright-eyed ambitious youngsters into selling their souls in exchange for fame and fortune. Contracts are written up and before you know it, your bright eye's have gone blank (literally) and your soul has been replaced by demon's breath. Now what I loved is that Dekkar Media was so clearly Disney (at least in my mind- with the rival being a nickelodeon-esque Teen-network). It wasn't such a stretch to replace pop-star Addison with Brittney or Lindsey and see how, even if the soul stealing isn't literal, the connection and implication is clear.

I also liked the vision of the netherworld, somtimes loosely tethered to reality and sometimes, where the sins of this world filter though, an exact replica. I enjoyed how everything there is dangerous, even something as mundane as grass or vines or a building.

I did enjoy the main charecters, Kaylee, Nash and Tod (and even Kaylee's best bud Emma)- but unfortunately I didn't feel a deep connection to them. I will still pick up Vincent's next book My Soul to Keep, as I have a suspicion that given more time to get to know these characters I will find that connection.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Inside Out

By Maria V. Snyder

Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.

So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous--the only neck at risk is my own.

Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.

I should have just said no...

Ever since I read Snyder's Study Series last summer I have been a huge fan, and I've been waiting rather impatiently for Inside Out to be released. My patience was definitly rewarded.

This book revolves around a girl named Trella, who is a scrub in a world called Inside. Being a scrub means she lives in the lower levels on Inside and does grunt work like cleaning pipes. In fact she enjoys the escape her pipe cleaning affords so much that she has been tagged with the nickname "Queen of the Pipes". Life goes on day by day in a mindless cycle, until her best friend Cog takes her to meet the latest prophet, Broken Man, who claims to know the way to find the Gateway, and the way to the outside. Trella is soon pulled into an adventure that she never imagined and becomes a leader in the revolt against the ruling family.

I really enjoyed this book because, while not neccesaraily along the same vein as Snyder's past books, it showcases what I feel Snyder does best, and that's creating worlds. Admittedly, it took me a bit to sort out what exactly Inside might look like (Snyder has posted maps on her website to help), and how the measuring of years worked, but once I decided to just go with it, it actually started to make more sense.

Like Snyder's other leading ladies Yelena (Study Series) and Opal (Glass Series), Trella is a reluctant hero, who doubts her own abilities, but rises to the occassion. The characters are well developed and you quickly grow to relate to and care about them. One thing I really liked was that despite there being two great guys in her life, Cog and Riley, Snyder steered away from the somewhat overplayed love triangle. Sometimes a best friend is simply that, and I appreciated that storyline.

In terms of Inside v. Outside- I loved what outside ended up being (but I will keep that spoiler to myself for now). I had a million theories, and yet, the one Snyder went with never once crossed my mind. I LOVE when that happens.

I'm pretty sure I could go on and on about what I liked (how bout' the riddle password questions?? Trella's mother??)- but I will end with simply saying that this is another great book by Snyder and I for one will be waiting (rather impatiently again) for the next book in this series, Outside In.

Snyder has a great website and there is also a page called What's Inside Out? that has a bunch of fun extra's including a book trailer and a quiz to find out what job you'd be assigned to is you lived Inside. For the record - I'd be a shepard :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010


by: Aprilynne Pike

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful--too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

Laurel discovers she is a faerie, sent among humans to protect the gateway to Avalon. Thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to each world. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever. (from

I picked this book up as part of the Book of the Month club and I was pleasantly surprised by the story. I had an inkling (based solely on the title) that this would be a story about faeries, and I was correct on that front, but I enjoyed all of Pike's twists on the standard mythology.
Our main charecter is Laurel who up until this point thought she was a fairly normal teenager, albiet one who eats very little and never bleeds. When she starts the local high school after years of being home schooled she struggles to fit in. When she suddenly sprouts a flower off her back, she begins to see exactly how different she is. With the help of her friend David, and the guidance of fellow faerie Tamani, Laurel begins to find her place in the world of humans and faeries.
This is book one in a series, and I'm excited to see where the story goes in the sequel Spells now that Laurel knows why she left Avalon to live amongst the humans and how she will handle her new responsibilities. Of course, it will also be interesting to see where her relationships with David and Tamani go as well.
Spells comes out of May 4th. You can order it from Amazon here.